Brumby Government to back RSPCA on animal welfare

ALP Vic News October 27th 2010; Joe Helper

A re-elected Brumby Labor Government will strengthen animal welfare laws and provide further support for the RSPCA to enforce animal cruelty prosecutions.

Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said a re-elected Brumby Labor Government would build on Labor’s record of improving animal welfare with a wide-range of measures designed to ensure the responsible owning and breeding of animals.

“We will introduce a minimum age for buying pets, ensure more dogs and cats are desexed and introduce new laws to crackdown on rogue puppy farm operators,” he said.

“We will continue to work with the RSPCA and other animal organisations to ensure animals and pets are protected.”

Mr Helper said a re-elected Brumby Labor Government would:

  • Provide the RSPCA with $4 million over four years to help fund their inspectorate work, so they can continue to prosecute cases of animal cruelty and give the RSPCA further powers to enforce animal welfare laws in relation to pets and pet-breeding establishments;
  • Introduce a minimum age for buying pets, so anyone under 18 who wants to purchase a pet will need parental consent;
  • Amend the pet shop code to ensure any dogs and cats sold from a pet shop are either de-sexed or the future de-sexing is pre-paid with a redeemable voucher at a vet;
  • Review tiered pet registration in consultation with local government, to encourage further de-sexing of pets;
  • Extend the maximum holding period for animals in shelters and pounds to allow more animals to be rehabilitated and re-housed;
  • Improve the standards in the pet shop code of practice providing for the exercise and socialisation of animals prior to being sold;
  • Review penalties for repeat animal cruelty offences;
  • Expand the highly successful Responsible Pet Ownership program to cover an extra 300 kindergartens every year; and
  • Regulate the identification and traceability of online pet sales to improve consumer protection and aid welfare investigations.

Mr Helper said as part of its commitment to strengthen animal welfare laws, the Brumby Labor Government will move to stamp out rogue puppy farm operators from the pet breeding industry.

“Most people breed animals in a responsible and humane way but unfortunately there are some elements in the industry that exploit animals,” he said.

“That is why we will introduce tough new laws to make sure more businesses are covered by laws applying to registered pet breeders and all those businesses are audited every year to ensure they are treating their animals humanely.”

Mr Helper said rogue puppy farm operators would have to contend with:

  • Councils and the RSPCA having the ability to shut down and immediately seize animals from pet breeders who aren’t treating their animals humanely;
  • Penalties being doubled for pet breeders who don’t register as a domestic animal business or who don’t comply with a Code of Practice from $1195 to $2389 for each breach;
  • Changes to what is defined as a domestic animals business from a minimum of 10 breeding females to three;
  • These new laws being applied to pet breeders who don’t intend to make money from their operation so all pet breeders are covered;
  • Annual audits of every registered pet breeding establishment so regular checks are made to ensure animal welfare laws are being met; and
  • A new ‘Smart Pet Buyers’ guide in partnership with stakeholder organisations to give Victorians the most up-to-date advice to make sure their purchase of a pet is from a shelter or responsible and registered pet breeder.
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